Skylar Grey – Natural Causes

Skylar Grey - Natural CausesIt’s a bit challenging to decipher what Skylar Grey is all about. She got her start as a folk-pop singer more than ten years ago, but most of her success has come from writing and singing hooks on rap hits by Eminem, Nicki Minaj and Diddy. Not an obvious progression, but certainly one full of potential. On her first album post-hitmaker, Don’t Look Down, she fused the two styles that made for an interesting blend of hip-pop with a nice jump-off point for her own solo career. On the followup, Natural Causes, she attempts to create for herself a razor-sharp image through themes and lyrics that step away from the regular – sort of making herself a tough anti-pop star, anti-girl-next-door. The result is less frequent hooks on songs forced into heavy off-centre beats and production, adopting the role of Bonnie to Eminem’s Clyde on Kill For You, and a song about falling in love away from the computer screen (Real World). The desire to be ‘bad’ is there, but feels so forced it becomes distracting. It isn’t until Moving Mountains that Skylar is able to shine as the beats are absent and the production, while still present, is pulled back. They get brought back again on the Bon Ivor-inspired track, Picture Perfect, with a sound worth exploring further. Natural Causes has its high points, but ultimately suffers from the same downfalls Don’t Look Down had, except intensified and with fewer rewards.

Two Stars

1. Intro – Wilderness
2. Jump
3. Lemonade
4. Kill For You [featuring Eminem]
5. Come Up For Air
6. Real World
7. Straight Shooter
8. Off Road
9. In My Garden
10. Moving Mountains
11. Picture Perfect
12. We Used To Be Bad
13. Closer

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